Head Coach Tommy Bowden:
Approach to the first road game this weekend
?We talked to the team a little bit. I just mentioned it once Monday at the team meeting about the fact that we'll have some guys traveling for the first time. It's important that our demeanor and focus as we approach game time stays pretty businesslike. Now, it's up to the upperclassmen and some of the team leaders. So we have addressed that and that is of some concern because this will be the first time that this team has been on the road.?
On Mike Archer's N.C. State defense
?His personnel is probably a little bit different at N.C. State (than it was at Kentucky). The base defense is very similar, but he is doing some different things at N.C. State. He's inherited Coach (Chuck) Amato's defensive players, but there are a lot of similarities. They challenge the ball really well. They've got some good ends that can rush well. They have some linebackers that are very physical. They have some really talented defensive players.?
On the offensive line's performance against Furman
?The offensive line had more intensity against Furman. It was not reflected in the rushing statistics because we had some sacks. As far as effort and downfield technique, we were real pleased. It was improved over the Louisiana Monroe game. We finished blocks. You can just look at some of the players grades against Furman compared to the Louisiana Monroe game. Chris McDuffie had 3.5 knockdowns against LM and had 15 against Furman.?
On running back C.J. Spiller
?He's not running much different than he was this time last year. He had 13 carries for 45 yards after three games last year and this year he has 26 carries for 85 yards, which is twice as productive as last year. We need to improve our running game in terms of production. We only had 60 yards against Furman. But we hit some passes, passes down field when we needed to and threw for over 300 yards and scored 38 points.?
On preparing quarterback Cullen Harper for his first road start
?I don't think there will be that much difference. We will probably prep him on crowd noise on Thursday, which we haven't done yet. The Florida State game pretty much prepared us for that. It was a pretty loud game even when we had the ball. Other than some crowd noise on Thursday, it won't be that much different as far as our preparation.?
Talking to the team
?I try to discuss things in a different light than I did last year. I've taken a different approach. I tell them it's not so much who you play but how you play. You don't get a trophy for being 3-0 or being ranked in the preseason. I talked a little bit more about chipping our way up to the top. The biggest thing is making improvements from week to week. I highlight the fact that we've got to keep improving.?
On N.C. State Head Coach Tom O'Brien
?He has a near NCAA record for bowl wins, the longest active streak, and that means he's had eight consecutive winning seasons, so he knows has to win. He knows how to get his guys' attention. Every indication shows that he'll be successful.?
Head Coach Tom O'Brien:
?Coming into the ACC season there was a sense it could be wide open because, with the exception of Matt Ryan, everyone has an inexperienced guy or is struggling at quarterback.
I think without any question quarterback is the most important position of anybody's offense. Experience is so important I think for anybody's football team. As you said Matt Ryan, he should be a Heisman Trophy candidate. I think he is the best, one of the best quarterbacks in the country. We might see the other one in another week when the kid from Louisville comes here. Those in my mind are the top two quarterbacks in the country and their play reflects that.?
Have you watched tape of Clemson and if so what is your impression of quarterback Cullen Harper?
?He's leading in passing efficiency in the conference. He's thrown for I think 72-percent, he's like 50 of 69 or something, so he's very efficient. He throws the deep ball well. They have those receivers that can fly down the field. He's got a lot of deep passes. He does a lot in that offense, he manages it well and has done a great job.?
In the past Clemson has struggled to achieve balance on offense, and teams seemed to stock the box up and force the quarterback to win the game. Do you think that's still the case from what you've seen?
?I think when you look at them with the two great tailbacks they have I think that's everybody's inclination to start. Davis is averaging almost seven yards a carry. I think his longest run is under 30 yards so he has been very consistent running the football. They have those big offensive linemen and run the ball well. I'm sure everybody looks at that so far and they've dared their quarterback to beat them but what Harper has done is he's beaten them throwing the ball as well as he has.?
Are you about where you expected to be at this point or behind schedule?
?I don't think any expectations or set benchmarks of where we'd be. The only thing I said is day to day and try to get better each day and try to get better each and every week as we play the game. That's been our focus. I think the kids are trying hard. There are still a lot of things that we have to accomplish here but we'll see where we are come Saturday, that's the benchmark each and every week.?
Harrison Beck seems to have a strong arm. What kind of future do you see for Harrison Beck?
?I hope it's going to be great. Like everybody else here he's a work in progress. He's been very good, and he's been very below average I would say at Boston College and then he was back to being a good quarterback here on Saturday night. That's the hallmark generally of a young kid that's playing for the first time is lack of consistency. We have to make him a much more consistent quarterback. As you said he has the physical tools, but you have to do it each and every week on the field.?
Teams have had a lot of success running the football, are you getting pushed around or what is the reason for it?
?We just haven't been as good against the run as we'd like to be. As we've said we're a work in progress. I would say that I think we are last in the conference right now in run defense. We have to be better.
We'll work on that each and every week also.?
What is the status for DeMario Pressley?
How do you evaluate the talent level of the team coming in?
?I don't need to comment on that. We are who we are. We are going to work our butts off and try to win as many games as we can. Obviously you have to go out to recruit to get better no matter what program you're in each and every year. That's our focus also.?
C.J. Spiller was held to *1 yard on nine carries by Furman. Did you see anything Furman did that will help you?
?I think Furman, they came in there playing Clemson just as Wofford came in here playing us. It's their Super Bowl. They go to a place like Clemson, it's their chance to showcase their program. Their kids played extremely hard. I don't think they did anything unusual defensively. It wasn't like they invented a new scheme to get all those stops. They just worked hard and they played well.?
Does the loss of John Bedics and DeMario Pressley change what you do at defensive tackle?
?No, we are going to continue to coach our team and try to get better.
Clemmons, it's an ACC game so he's back on the two-deep ready to go.?
Do you know yet what kind of football team you have three games into the year?
?I don't think we really know. I think we're seeing improvement though in their preparations, especially the mental aspect of the game and the intensity and concentration. I think we are getting better in those areas. As I've said before every time I say something good it's one step forward two steps back. So we'll see how we do this week. I think it would be very important that we continue to do all those things we have to do. I don't think we're that far away from being a decent football team. We still have to do it.?
Is that normal?
?I think that's part of the evolution from the new coach to the new system. As I've said before these kids don't have any history to fall back on the way that we've coached them in a lot of different schemes.
You can't say remember a year ago when somebody, something new happen and this is how we have to play it. That's all part of their process learning, but the more focus and the more intensity and the more discipline they have that'll help us reach that point faster.?
Can you talk about the job James Martin has done for you so far?
?He's one of the seniors on the football team. As I came in I am indebted to those kids. I didn't want to make wholesale changes. I want to try to do the best job I can for them. You can see by his play, a lot of the seniors play, that this is an important year for them. They want to get the program back on the winning track, and he has done a great job in the middle helping us get lined up and had a great night on Saturday night, made a couple of really good plays. He saved a touchdown that eventually making them, it was pure hustle, knocked a kid down at the two-yard line. A penalty or two later we make them kick a field goal. He picked a fumble up and almost had a chance to score with it the second time they fumbled. He's been doing all the right things and he is one of those kids that has bought into the program and is working as hard as he can.?
Clemson said in the preseason they wanted to be tougher and more physical on the offensive line, have you been able to notice a difference?
?I can't see off the tape right now. That'll be something that I would be better to judge after we play them come Saturday. I don't know, until they go back to the Danny Ford era, I don't know if they will ever come off the ball the way they come off the ball and were physical those days. It's a whole different concept the way that they're blocking up front now.
They have those big guys on defense that can fly around, so they're pretty physical on defense.?
The offensive line played better against Wofford, are they starting to get it or was it because of the opponent?
?I think it was more we were better than that football team, but we were executing better and taking better steps, our pads were down and all that came into play, too. But we should've been able to rush the ball like that, and that's not a swipe on Wofford by any stretch of the imagination.?
Teams are lining up the running back at quarterback for a direct snap more often, what challenges does that present?
?It's a lot the way West Virginia is playing offense. What they do is they take their quarterback and they put him out at wide receiver and then play the two backs in the backfield. In essence, they replace their throwing quarterback with a running quarterback, and a lot of those offenses are like wishbone offenses similar to the team we just played where the read the end, is he going to close, do we pull it or run with it and things like that. A lot of that is also triple option philosophy, they are just getting a better ball handler. They are getting a running back at quarterback is what they are getting.?
Do you still cover that position?
?The quarterback? You got to cover him. He may be a decoy but you still have to cover him.?
J.C. Neal played special teams only against Boston College and over 70 snaps against Wofford, why was that?
?I think that's part of the evolution of the football team. We look at practice, we tell the kids if you don't practice well you're not going to play. If you practice well you're going to play. He practiced well and did a good job all week. We moved a couple people around because of the wishbone, specifically guys who could tackle better and pursue to the ball. If we have, now we call it the depth chart but it still might be the organizational chart, weekly until we figured on Friday who practiced well enough and will help us get into a position to win the football game.?
Did you ever expect to have a true freshman from Germany starting?
?No, I guess anything can happen today in college football. But when you lose two guys in that spot and you're No. 3 you move up to No. 1 fast and that's what is happening in college football.?
What did you expect from Kuhn coming in?
?We knew that he could run and that he was a physical presence. He still has a long ways to go but he's got a knack for doing a couple of things.
He is physical, he runs to the football and he is always hustling. Those are tremendous qualities to start with.?
What is John Bedics' status?
What's the nature of the injury?
?His foot, ankle.?
Did you report the block to the league?
?No I can't comment on that. I'd get fined.?
How did Mike Golder get injured?
?He was injured in practice.?
Clemson's defense is noted for being very fast, is that fair to say?
?Yes, they can really run well. They got some big bodies. Their front four, both ends are really active. The front four, both ends are very active, and everybody else runs extremely fast on defense.?
How much better is the team now than it was a month ago?
?We were a much better football team Saturday night than we were the last Saturday game so we've made strides in two weeks, but as I said it's a weekly event. We are in a situation now where we are going to play four top 20 teams when you count Wofford on I-AA, BC is ranked, Clemson is top 20 and Louisville is top 20. It's a pretty good stretch to compare yourself and figure out where you are. Maybe we'll be up to the challenge, maybe we won't, but we're going to try to get better each and every week and see if we can get a win here on Saturday.?
Talk about the job Thomas Barnes did against Wofford.
?He wasn't fazed at all. He went in and looked like he was on the field forever, made a lot of nice plays, got in position, hustled. He did a great job on the cuts, the low blocks, kept his feet clean and got to the football.?
Does Central Florida almost beating Texas validate how good they are?
?I think that my mindset has always been that you can't tell whose good until October. You get through September and you play a lot of interconference games and you figure out whose good or not.
I've said before I've known George O'Leary for a long time. When he said it's the best team he's had ever down there that was going to be a good football team, especially since two years ago he won the conference and they went to a bowl game. You know if he's saying it they were a good football team. They'll prove I guess through the course of the season.
It was similar to a year ago at BC our first three games, we opened up with Central Michigan and we played BYU the third game, played Clemson the second. Everybody was saying well Central Michigan is no good, BYU is no good. Well they both won 10 games and won their conference. You just don't know until it's over, until you get into the middle of October. You can have all those preseason polls, but the polls don't count in my mind until the first week in October.?
More on the upcoming schedule
?As I've said before I think we are still working our way through. We are in a pretty good stretch now. We are going to compare ourselves to top 20 teams. Maybe we're not top 20 but by the end of the year we might be a heck of a football team if we can get healthy and continue to get better. That's the goal, get better each and every week and then we'll count them up at the end.?
It seemed like Harrison Beck took less shots downfield and stayed more within the offense Saturday.
?He did that. I think he managed the offense well. Once again, I think he was 16 of 32 but he had four drops in there too that could've helped situations. We scored on five of the first nine possessions, and two of them we dropped balls in situations that would've kept drives going that could've kept us going. If you can be that efficient that's a pretty good offensive night, and that's what the quarterback has to do, distribute the ball and get us headed the right direction.?
How is the kicking game progressing?
?I think we punted the ball better. We put five of them inside the 20 yard line, good hang time. We got a fumble off that left handed spin that's a little different, so it comes down a little different. That helped, you got to get used to do that. Steven has done a good job kicking the ball off. He's getting them up in the air, he's getting them deep. His field goal kick, 40 whatever it was, 40-plus yards was a pretty good kick the other night.?
When you had the reunion in the spring, did you learn anything about the 1957 ACC championship team that will be honored Saturday?
?No, but I guess I better learn.?
(NC State sports information director Annabelle Myers) It was 50 years ago, 1957.
50 years ago? Boy you are a math major Annabelle that's good.
I heard that there is a trophy given to this game?
It's the Textile Bowl.
That's what I heard, it's a bowl game. We need to get a bowl game.
Going back to Matt Ryan, do you think it's a longshot for him to win the Heisman considering where he is and Boston being a pro sports town?
?No, Flutie won the Heisman Trophy. That's one thing the power Boston press has if they get on his bandwagon. They are on national TV in a lot of spots. He is going to have his chances. They've got three games now, but they're going to go at Notre Dame, they play Virginia Tech on a Thursday night down the road. So he's going to get the platform he needs to make that kind of run, and obviously if they win them all it's going to be hard not to.?
Will that be good for the ACC?
I think you (Caulton Tudor) were the one bemoaning the lack of quarterbacks, there you go. (laughs)
Well I said you did a good job with him.
Are you running for school board?
No, why is there a sign somewhere?
Yes there is a sign.
I think I have enough to do. I have to learn about the 50 years ago ACC team.